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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to improve English speaking skills - Ask Minoo #3

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Hello and welcome everyone. This is Minoo at Anglo-Link.

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have posted comments and

questions for me on YouTube,

Facebook and on Anglo-Link's forum.

If you're watching this video on YouTube, and you would like to enable subtitles,

click on the button

at the bottom of this video.

Today, I've chosen some questions that you've posted for me on YouTube. There are a couple of

general questions and then a few specific questions that I will be answering.

Many of you have asked how you can improve your listening and speaking skills.

I have chosen three questions to read out for you.

Ricardo says: "I need to understand when I watch a movie.

What can I do?"

Hogiartha says:

"I really want to improve my English.

I'm not confident enough to use it

because I'm very embarrassed when I make mistakes while speaking.

Is there any advice for me?"

And, Ali Ismail says:

"I live in an Arabic country and there is no-one near me who can speak English,

but I need to practise it.

What can I do?"

Let's start with 'listening',

because I do believe that improving your listening will naturally improve your


As I have said before,

in order to improve your listening, you have to do listening activities.

Now, there are two types of listening activities you can do:

global listening and detailed listening.

Global listening is when you just listen for the gist, for the main ideas.

I would recommend that you choose easy,

familiar, interesting


or YouTube clips,

and just watch them without trying to understand every single word.

If it helps, you can watch

with subtitles, English subtitles first,

and then watch the same thing several times without subtitles. So, that's

global listening and it's really really important.

Now, the other activity you can do, which is also very useful, is detailed

listening, and that is when you

listen and write down everything that you hear.

It's a dictation or a transcription exercise. I have done a video for you on improving

your listening skills.

I recommend that you watch that first to know what are the difficulties that you

might encounter when doing transcription exercises,

and then do whatever transcription exercise you can find.

There are some videos in our channel that you can use. Now, as I said, improving

your listening will naturally improve your speaking.

But if you want to accelerate your speaking abilities, you need to work

specifically on your pronunciation and on assimilating the grammar, the

structures of the language.

Turning to speaking now.

As I've just said,

improving listening skills will naturally improve your speaking skills.

However, if you want to accelerate that,

what you need to do is to work on your pronunciation and on assimilating the

structures that you're learning. You can assimilate structures by repeating

phrases that include those structures. In order to help you with that, we have

introduced a certain level of membership on our website. It's called

Premium Plus membership

and that gives you access to the recording of all the exercises, the

questions and the answers.

So you can

listen and repeat

for your pronunciation and for assimilating the structures.

Right, now turning to Ali's and Hogiartha's questions about the

confidence to speak

and the opportunities to speak.

Once you have improved your pronunciation and your listening,

and you have assimilated structures,

it's time for you to go and use what you're learning.

Okay, it's true, you will be making mistakes,

but please don't be afraid of making mistakes.

Making mistakes gives you feedback on what you need to improve next.

Remember that English is not your mother tongue. You're learning it, and it's

absolutely normal

to be making mistakes. So, have confidence. Go out there and speak

and you will learn more.

As Ali says, sometimes, you may not have the opportunity in your immediate

environment to speak English.

In that case, I would strongly recommend that you find someone online to practise


and from time to time, occasionally,

have a lesson,

a 'small group' lesson

or a private lesson with a teacher face-to-face or online,

to get feedback on how you're doing,

what's good and what needs improving.

Okay then, let's move on to some specific language questions.

I have chosen three questions about conditionals.

The first question's from Elnur,

who says: "I was taught at university that there is actually a fith type of

conditional called mixed conditional.

Why didn't you include that in your tutorial?"

You're absolutely right, there is a mixed conditional, but it's not as common as the

other four, and that's why I didn't include it in the video on conditionals.

This conditional is when

the past action has a consequence in the present.

For example: "If I had seen him yesterday,

I wouldn't be here today."

So, the action is in the past, but the consequence is in the present.

Therefore, you have a mixture of the third conditional in the 'if' clause,

and the second conditional

in the 'consequence' clause.

Thank you for pointing that out.

The next question about the conditionals was about the second conditional,

and it comes from Robert,

who says:

"Can we swap 'were' for 'was' in conditional

No 2, or would it be wrong?

Some people regard it as correct and acceptable.

So, can we say: "if I was" instead of "if I were?"

Grammatically speaking, 'were' is the correct form. So, if you're taking an exam or

you're doing an interview, use 'if I were', 'if it were', 'if he were',

'if she were'. Use 'were'.

Also, for me, if it's completely hypothetical

like in sentences:

"If I were you ..."

or "if I were twenty years younger ...", you should stick with 'were'.

In low probability situations like: "It's not a nice day. If it were

nicer, we would go out."

You could say:

"If it was nicer, we would go out." That's acceptable.

The last question on conditionals comes from Saad,

and it's about the third conditional, he says:

"Sometimes, I hear Americans use the past simple in the 'if' clause in the third


where past perfect should be used.

For example:

If I had time last week,

I would have visited you.

Is that correct?"

Gramatically, it's not correct, but

in America, in American English, the third conditional is not always well-formed.

Sometimes, they use the past simple,

like in Saad's example.

And sometimes, they might even use 'would have done' twice. So, 'would have done'

in the 'if' clause

and 'would have done'

in the consequence clause, like "if I would have had time last week, I would have

visited you."

Personally, I would avoid this structure, but it's common and acceptable in America.

And the last question I'd like to deal with in today's video, is about the


I've had several questions about the futures from you because they are a little


I'm going to read

Akhilesh's question for you.

He says: "In the sentence 'I will drive to work this time tomorrow.' we should use

'will be driving'.

Why? Is it because it's a future arrangement without a specific time?

Please explain it to me."

I'd like to answer this question by reminding you of the usages of

the three future forms that are often confused with each other. One is

the 'Going to' Future:

'I'm going to do.'

The other one is the Future Continuous: 'I will be doing'

And the other one is the Present Continuous used for the future: 'I am doing'

plus a future time marker.

Now, really in most situations,

all three are correct.

It's only when you want to insist on a specific connotation

that you need to separate them.

For example, if you want to show that you have an arrangement with someone, you

should use

'I am doing'.

So, it would be something like "I am driving John to work

at eight o'clock tomorrow." That says that you have an appointment, an arrangement

with John.

If you want to say that you have made a decision, or you've made a plan, then

use 'I'm going to'.

"I'm going to drive to work tomorrow.

I'm not going to walk."

And finally, the Future Continuous, 'I will be

driving to work at eight o'clock tomorrow.",

just shows that,

as usual, at a specific time in the future, you will be doing something.

So like: "Yesterday at eight o'clock, I was driving to work.

It is eight o'clock today: I am driving to work.

And, tomorrow as usual,

I will be driving to work

at 8 o'clock."

That's the real difference

between these futures, but very often, they are

interchangeable when it doesn't matter what the connotation is.

Right then, this brings me to the end of this video. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Don't forget to ask me more questions and make comments in the section


and I look forward to seeing you in our next video.

Bye now!

The Description of How to improve English speaking skills - Ask Minoo #3